Alcoa39s headquarters in Pittsburgh Getty Images

Alcoa's headquarters in Pittsburgh.

Alcoa Plants in Syracuse Won't Close After All, as State Intervenes

New York is ponying up $68.8 million in aid to keep the smelting furnaces fired up and save 500 jobs.

Nearly 500 workers at two Alcoa plants near Syracuse, N.Y., can dig into their Thanksgiving dinners with more gusto, thanks to the help of $68.8 million of state government assistance over 3 ½ years to keep the plants open.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Sen. Charles Schumer announced today an agreement with Alcoa that will keep the two smelting plants in Massena, N.Y. in operation. Earlier this month, Alcoa had announced it would close one plant and idle another in response to changes in the aluminum market.

Cuomo said in a statement that his office had been in talks with Alcoa since January, when the company first announced plans to make changes to address falling aluminum prices.

Reached on Monday, the agreement, said Cuomo, “applies firm job commitments that Alcoa must adhere to for its continued use of some of the lowest cost electricity in the country.”

Under the agreement, “Alcoa will invest in developing its future workforce and maintain the operations at its Massena West facility, including at least 750 jobs. At the same time, the schedule for a new modernized East facility is unchanged.”

According to the Syracuse Post-Standard, in orders to keep the plants up and running, the state has agreed to $38.8 million in capital and operation expenses from its economic development arm and $30 million in energy cost assistance, spread over 3 ½ years. If the price of aluminum rises within that time frame, the benefits will decrease.

Alcoa is also required under the agreement to fund a workforce development training program to train current employees for high-tech jobs needed at the plants in the future.

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